The Bookshop on Lafayette Street: stories and poems

This collection has everything that you love about used bookstores: books, the sense of wonder and discovery, the cozy clutter, idiosyncratic book lovers, and the feeling that you are in a haven buttressed against the cruelties of the world

Written by a Pulitzer-Prize winning poet, a newspaper columnist, a playwright, a Dodge poet, a graffiti artist, a blogger, a bookstore owner and more!

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Here’s what the reviewers thought about it.

“The writings…make it easy for anyone who has ever read and enjoyed a book (to) find … hope, conviction and a great appreciation for every secondhand bookstore she ever passed or entered. I highly recommend The Bookshop on Lafayette Street to book buyers, readers, librarians and authors. It’s a book that you’ll be glad that you picked up and read.”—Chistell Publishing

“Edited and produced by Classics Books’ proprietor, Eric Maywar, and published by the Princeton-based Ragged Sky Press, run by poet Ellen Foos, “The Book Shop on Lafayette Street” features poems, stories, and plays by a variety of area writers including arts writer Ilene Dube, internationally known poet Yusef Komunyakaa, nationally known poet and former Trenton Central High School English teacher Doc Long, and noted regionally based playwright and former Passage Theater director David White, and others.”—Community News

“After bumping into each other at Classics Books in Trenton, New Jersey, bookstore owner and writer Maywar and prize-winning poet Yusef Komunyakaa decided to “collaborate on a collection of poems and stories that all take place” in a bookstore. The result is a volume of 20 offerings from various authors and artists that include poetry, prose, a play, and a scattering of illustrations. Following the introduction, the collection opens with a piece by debut editor Maywar that alludes immediately to the magical quality of bookstores: “Everybody wants to pull a book in a bookstore and discover a secret passageway.” Komunyakaa contributes an extract from his book-length poem “The Last Bohemian of Avenue A,” a mournful paean to disappearing Lower East Side bookstores. A short story by Jeff Edelstein steps inside the mind of an impatient book collector. In a tale by Jackie Reinstedler, a bookstore becomes a family’s place of refuge from worldly worries. Komunyakaa’s poem is a standout piece; his writing is spare yet fiercely moving: “Lower East Side bookstores / are now gutted temples, / & when windows of St. Marks / were papered I felt the hurt.” A poem by Barry Gross effectively portrays the homely comfort drawn from bookstores. Regarding closing time, he writes: “I’m hoping he overlooks / and locks me in so I can make / a paper blanket of words / to feed this warmth….the poem “At Classics Books” by Doc Long deftly captures the atmosphere of a bookstore: “Open any book” and sense “the sulk of wine and incense / all the way from Dakar or Tashkent.”  —Kirkus Reviews

“The Bookshop on Lafayette Street, a book published by area writers, features stories and poems about bookstores and the love of books. Everything that you love about bookstores is in the collection: books, a sense of wonder and discovery, the cozy clutter, idiosyncratic book lovers, and the feeling that you are in a magic haven buttressed against the cruelties of the world.”  Trenton Daily

“I can legitimately say after every poem, short story, play ‘that was my favorite.’ The Bookshop on Lafayette Street left me wanting more.”—Christina Sasso, Trenton Waves Podcast

“Getting lost in Classics has been a hobby of mine for nearly two decades. Reading this collection is like entering a small, hidden door in the corner of Eric’s store and finding a literary fantasyland. This stuff is cool.”—Jeff Edelstein, Trentonian

Author Eric Maywar on the collection